Well the Leilon game has restarted. Most of the players got the message over various socials so we had 4 in attendance. About normal for us anyway.
When (before Christmas) we left our party, they’d just defeated a collection of zombies that charged out of the scrub at them. The fight ending up with a single armoured fighter who had been chasing the zombies (her colleague had died in the fight). The party and the fighter had an initially strained conversation, but it eased off as each side worked out where each other stood.
The party helped build a rock cairn for her colleague, accepting her story that they had been all that was left of a caravan that had been attacked by the zombies. The pair had decided to follow and either stop, warn or assist anything else they came across. With the zombies taken care of, she said she would head to Neverwinter and find more work. (At no point did the party check any of her conversation. She was lying through her teeth, not even her name was real. Ah well).
However, some of the party became suspicious when she left. She didn’t head towards the main road, rather deeper into the forest. A couple of them followed until she started down a trail, still heading “the wrong way”. They went back to the party and the party moved to follow and investigate. (Our fighter was headed back to the bandit gang she came from).
The party eventually came across a ruined keep in the forest. After some recon of the area, the party split. With 3 approaching the gate and 3 covering them, hidden in the surrounding trees. They could see several guards on the walls and more through a large hole in one wall.
The party assumed that the fighter had come here, and name dropped to no response. (She had actually come back, but due to her failure to hide the zombies or destroy the party, the bandit leader had her killed). The party was invited in (the 3 they could see) and a little conversation was had. The party enquired about the group (mercenaries apparently, enroute to Neverwinter – not true). They warned them about the zombies (the bandits had a whole stash of zombies themselves). This was really a pretext for the bandit leader to get them in the walls to kill them, to keep the secret of the zombies.
In classic ambush style, the bandits attacked as the party went to leave. Several things helped the party. The paladin had sensed a great number of zombies in a nearby room, but was unable to say anything without revealing it. And someone did an insight check, it was clear the leader was lying. And the other party member figured that the camp looked like it had been here for sometime, not the couple of days that the leader described. Everyone was suspicious. Outside, the others had moved to see through the hole in the wall as soon as they saw the gates shut behind the party. So there wasn’t much surprise when the bandits attacked.
Battle ensued. The members in the courtyard put up a good defence, but most of the damage was done by the ranger and wizard launching ranged attacks through the hole in the wall. The bard cast his (continually frustrating for a DM) Hypnotic Distraction and distracted half the bandits. The guards on the walls started shooting arrows into the fray as well.
Initially it looked more even than most fights. However with half of her bandits distracted, the leader made a run for a room at the base of one of the towers, where her pet chimera was kept. She never made it, but her death scream caused the creature to cry out. The party figured something nasty behind door number one.
Door number two was revealed to have something behind it too, when the bard came up against it during the fight. The moans were clearly audible and instantly recognised. And the paladin revealed there were definitely zombies behind door number 3.
The bandits did intend to release these into the party, but were prevented from door one and two simply by being cut down when they attempted to move in that direction. The wizard secured door 3 with a Wall of Flame cast across the courtyard, cutting the bandits off from it.
An exciting session had to cut off in the middle of this fight. With only 2 bandits standing, things could calm down shortly.
I imagine the party will move to eliminate the remaining threats piecemeal, which will make it easier for them. It’s something they are very at good at setting up even in a melee, so with each group behind a door, I think it will be easy to keep them seperate. However, there are a LOT of zombies behind door 3. The chimera sounds scary, but this crew has killed 2 dragons in short order. I don’t think the chimera on its own will be much of a problem.
I am planning on having the last couple of bandits surrender. This won’t stop the party from having to deal with the other creatures as the bandits don’t control them (with the death of the chimera’s owner). But they might get some intel that could set things up for later….